Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

> who´s to judge which ones are right and which one are wrong?

Who's to judge that anything is wrong? Murder, theft etc.? In the end, we must organize a society. If you don't like thinking of society's judgment -- made through whatever institutions it creates -- as universal moral rulings, think of them as organizational rules. If you kill someone under certain conditions, society puts you in jail, and the word "wrong" is used for those things society deems jail-worthy (and probably beyond that, too). In this case, society does decide what opinions are right or wrong in the correctness sense, only what ideas can be detrimental to its own survival to a degree that justifies enforcement. Who decides where is that line? The same institutions that decide the penalty for reckless driving.

So those with power to enforce their ideals on society get to decide morality then?

Well, normally morality is "decided" by a social process, which also shapes the rules, so they don't often diverge by much. But my point is to separate the two issues: society decides the rules; who "decides" morality is another discussion.

Freedom of speech is the social process that works because ideas can be aired and then opposed or supported. Free conversations are where extremes can be moderated. Driving ideas or words underground where they cannot be easily heard or clearly countered is a path to authoritarianism.

Your argument is not very meaningful because freedom of speech means something very different in the US and in, say, France, and both of these different things can be said to "work well". I, too, agree that freedom of speech is very important, but can have a completely different opinion on whether 8chan should be shut down, because what I mean by freedom of speech is different from what you mean, and I believe neither of us means the freedom to say anything, at any place, in any medium, and in any time or circumstance. We just differ on the degree to which we limit that freedom, or whose freedoms we value.

Any freedom is some compromise. If a society has two people or more, then either one person is allowed to, say, enslave the other, in which case the society isn't totally free, or not, in which case the society also isn't totally free. So there is no such thing as absolute freedom, and whenever we say freedom we actually mean some point on a spectrum. We could argue over what that reasonable point is, but absolute freedom is something that can't exist. So instead of speaking in absolutes, let's acknowledge that we're arguing over a favorite compromise.

That social process is exactly why freedom of speech matters.

Isn't that obvious, based on society's dysfunction alone?

It's not a moral principle. It's an explanation of where we find ourselves. This doesn't mean we shouldn't keep striving for a just society, but we don't live in a just society.

The question is how ? how can you have a just society that everyone will agree upon ? Unless we are invent some kind of eugenics or brain wash mechanism so that everyone has the same believe, same way of thinking then its impossible.

Or maybe we can develop really advance VR so that make possible for everyone to live in their own ideal socity.

We don't all have to agree on everything all the time. You strive in a direction by moving in that direction, there is no end point, no destination, no way to "complete" the process. There doesn't have to be. Life is messy like that, even when people are generally healthy and happy and kind to each other.

The problem is which direction is it? Because whatever direction it is is ultimatley subjective.

Sure, but all meaning and interpretation of life, all ideas on what is right, and so on, are subjective. There is nothing wrong with that, since it's not like objectivity actually exists on the other side of the scale. When it comes to moral questions, what is "objectively right" simply doesn't apply, and isn't needed.

If everybody simply stuck to treating others how they would want to be treated, we'd live in a much better world already, even if it wasn't "perfect", and even if there were disagreements, and it all still always subject to constant learning and reflection.

Our main problems don't stem from out confusion about what we think is right (and by "we" I mean each of us as the individuals that actually exist, not as a collective abstraction), but from wanting what we think is right for ourselves, while having double standards for others, and rationalizations for those.

How is your system practically work ? For example, do you prefer 8chan to be banned ?

It's not my system, it's reality, there is no objective morality, and even where people agree on many things, they don't have the exact same opinions and reasons for having them, and so on. That's at all not contingent on me giving you a satisfying answer on such a tricky question about a site I don't even know.

How could it ever possibly be otherwise, are people going to enforce morality they don't believe in?

I expect so. It's reasonable[0] to believe there are policement and judges who will arrest and sentence you for drug use, thus enforcing the law, while not believing the law is right.

[0] I know there are such policemen, I extrapolate to expect there are likeminded judges too.

That itself, is a morality fwiw, plus plenty of cops absolutely do not enforce laws they feel are wrong/stupid/pointless.

And they definitely don’t enforce laws equally....

Who's to judge that anything is wrong? Murder, theft etc.?

How many people would think that it was okay for the government to steal private property in the border states under the concept of “imminent domain” if it meant that the wall could be built?

Yes imminent domain is theft. The government rarely pays the fair market value.

> ... universal moral rulings, think of them as organizational rules

Sure. Slavery was moral, or if I disagree with it, I'll accept it as an organisational rule instead. Ditto apartheid, ditto the way many mid-eastern countries treat women.

Society must come to some decision, at any given point in time, about what to do if X does Y; are they punished? if so, how? Morality is a more complex subject, that, of course, heavily interacts with the decision I mentioned. My point was merely that while the two are intertwined, they are not necessarily the same, and regardless of where one stands on some moral question, there necessarily must be (and there is) some rule about what to do when X does Y. You can equivocate on some moral question, but you cannot equivocate on a law (although a judicial system can infuse it with some nuance). So when a particular society legislates a law, you don't necessarily have to take it as if that particular society has settled a universal moral question.

I see what you're saying, but - and I mean this constructively - you can take a rather roundabout way of saying it which fogs your meaning.


> So when a particular society legislates a law, you don't necessarily have to take it as if that particular society has settled a universal moral question

Point taken, but laws can be plain immoral, even evil. Laws should be as moral as possible. Laws without a moral backing would seem to be meaningless.

But lets put that aside, let's take your intended point that laws are an attempt to formalise morality, and lets also assume morality is what we'd call moral (not oppressing women/minorities/certain religions/etc). You say

> but you cannot equivocate on a law

but you damn well can! In the UK the definition of theft involves intent. From wiki "[...] if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it"

It's all about intent. It's the crux of it IIRC (and I did a short course in law). A lot of law is about intent. I hit a person in the face. Deliberate? I get spanked. Genuine unavoidable accident? I get let off. Intent is central. It is very equivocable.

In our case, which of 8chan's members are in it for pure lulz, and which because they really want to start a race war. Hard to tell intent.

Still sounds like the world is a cleaner place without them lot.

> but you damn well can!

That's not equivocation, it's what I called nuance, and mentioned the judiciary's role in managing it. With ethics you can say, "this is a hard question," and leave it at that; with the law, you must decide. The judge or jury must ultimately decide whether to punish the possible thief or not, and if so, how -- say, by making a decision on intent, perhaps taking degrees into account. Either society decides to shut 8chan down or not; "it's complicated" isn't an option (I mean, it may well be, but a decision must be reached). So whatever ethics is at play, and however complicated it is, a decision on action must be and is made.

And BTW, not every offense must have criminal intent. Traffic violations, for example, do not (in the jurisdictions I know). Murder, as it is defined in many jurisdictions, requires intent, but even without it killing is often a very serious offense (e.g. you can kill through an intent to endanger, and you can kill through negligence, and you'll end up in prison for both).

> Sure. Slavery was moral, or if I disagree with it,

I think you mean that slavery was legal. Most people would hold that it was never moral. Some people hold these same beliefs now about some of our current behaviors toward other animals: they're legal but not moral.

Well, for me our current behavior towards animal is moral. Moral is subjective after all. Just like slavery it ultimately decided by who can force the other (physically or persuasively) to follow their morality.

> Moral is subjective after all

This statement is not as self-evident as you seem to believe. Philosophers and ethicists have been debating it for millennia.

Then what is your argument againts it? I provided attitude towards animal as an example.

>Philosophers and ethicists have been debating it for millennia

Thats even more strengthen my position that morality is subjective.

You provided your opinion. That's it.

So OK, I'll do the same: I disagree that morality is subjective.

Edit: so if I disagree that the world is round, that shows that it's flat?

Right, that show that it is subjective.

>so if I disagree that the world is round, that shows that it's flat?

No, it just show that you disagree that the world is round

Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact